As the mother of 9-month-old twins, I get this question all the time: What did you do when you found out you were having twins?
In my mind, people expect a common reaction: a confession of shock, excitement, fear or all of the above. The truth, as often is the case, is a lot more complicated than that. Yes, I was happy — for about 30 seconds. Fear, anxiety and all-out heartbreak set in quickly because my doctor told me he didn't think one of the babies, who at about 6 weeks was much smaller than his brother, would make it. And so I proceeded with extreme caution through the next nine months, determined, by faith, to do my part to bring healthy babies into the world and help them thrive.
Recently, I learned that I would get to participate in another twin birth of sorts. This birth involves the creation of a second edition of the Brandon and South Shore Times.
How did I feel when I heard the news? Once again, happiness, fear and anxiety overtook me. I'm thrilled about the opportunity to grow our news coverage at a time when our readership in Hillsborough County is soaring, especially on Sundays when our circulation tops 111,000 copies in Hillsborough alone. Trepidation sets in when I think about the high standards that we've set, and you've come to expect, from the news in our pages each Friday. I don't want to let readers down. After all, your time is valuable, and I strive to make sure every story is worthy of the investment of your time and money. As a mother of three — I also have a 3-year-old — I know the value of every second and every cent.
Finally, after months of planning, I think we've got it right.
On Fridays, we will still bring you the features and personalities you have come to enjoy. Like reading Ernest Hooper? He will maintain his real estate on the front of the section. Follow prep sports? We plan to give you more. We'll also bring back our gardening column with veteran journalist Penny Carnathan as our gardening guru. Look for expanded entertainment listings and more tips about how to spend your recreational time.
On Sundays, we invite you to sit a spell and read reporting that drills deeply into issues that affect your neighborhood and others in similar environs around the county. We'll also continue staple coverage such as community news and school stories. Daniel Ruth, a columnist who is new to the regional editions but no stranger to Hillsborough County, will have a permanent space on the section's front. And in an effort to show you more of yourselves, we will debut a new feature, Hometown Hillsborough. Consider this your formal invitation to send photos and news of your anniversaries, milestones and other accomplishments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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There's one more thing you should know. Some readers went to their mailboxes on Fridays and found the Brandon & South Shore Times inside. In order to publish more frequently and control costs, we will soon discontinue most of those mailings. But readers, both subscribers and single-copy buyers, can find our Friday and Sunday local sections in the Times' Tampa edition. And, of course, our work will be available on tampabay.com.
Please check out our new bundles of joy on Aug. 19, when the revamped Friday edition of the Brandon & South Shore Times debuts. Come back again Sunday, Aug. 21, for the inaugural edition of the Sunday Brandon & South Shore Times. If you have suggestions, tell us. Call. E-mail. Stop in at our Riverview office. I welcome your feedback.
As I've learned with raising my children — each of whom has turned out perfectly healthy and happy — I can't do it alone. My husband and I accept help, advice and arms willing to soothe fussy little ones, from all well-intentioned givers. So it will be with our twin newspaper sections.
My staff and I are determined to do our part to bring newsy, relevant, local news to your doorstep.
If we are to succeed, and I believe we will, then we will need your feedback.
These days, people ask me what it's like raising twins. We feel incredibly blessed, I say. Then I admit that life is hectic, but I wouldn't trade it for even a nanosecond of calm.
Once our twin newspaper sections debut, I anticipate questions about how it feels to produce two editions. I don't yet know, but I'm excited. I hope you are, too.
Sherri Day can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 661-2440.